Ina Mays Guide to Childbirth

Using history as her guide, nationally recognized midwife Gaskin explores what she hopes will be a renaissance in natural childbirth, something that she's been advocating since the mid-1970s. By focusing on how women of ancient civilizations and other modern peoples give birth, Gaskin puts our own hypersensitivities in perspective, uncovering a beautiful, sometimes orgasmic experience rather than a dreadful, painful one. Sure, pain is part of childbirth, but preparing for the pain in a realistic rather than sentimental way--whether giving birth at home or in a hospital--can be the key to a woman's ability to deal with it naturally. Within the pages of personal anecdotes, some touching, some startling, from Gaskin's patients and colleagues, every woman is sure to find something to relate to, whether or not she chooses to have a medicine-free labor. The helpful back matter features a glossary, a detailed resource list including advocacy groups and Web sites, and a bibliography that includes periodicals, rounding out an extremely comprehensive and up-to-date guide on the topic.

Have you read this book? Id love to hear what you thought of it.


  1. I just had my monthly midwife appointment and she lent me this awesome book. It's got everything, including a section on orgasmic birth. I find it refreshing to read something so real that attempts to turn our stereotypical hospital birth routine upside-down

  2. My daughter's birth was amazing. Labor was not painful-- it was too big for that. More like getting hit by a tsunami, over and over. The whole intense experience was deeply invigorating and actually GAVE me the energy I needed to cope with the first couple of difficult weeks with a new baby.

    When I've confessed to other moms that birth was SPECTACULAR, they're incredulous. How can something so painful, so medical, so dangerous be anything somebody could enjoy, especially without any drugs?

    Ina May Gaskin explains-- birth is normal. My challenging but beautiful birth experience has apparently become an exception in this country-- but it doesn't have to be. With an understanding of what our bodies can and are made to do, birth can not only be safe but beautiful.

    I would recommend-- no REQUIRE-- this book for anybody who wants to have kids, or who has had kids, or --shoot-- anybody with reproductive parts. Wanna know what they can do given the chance? Here ya go! The collection of honest birth stories and the detailed information about the processes of birth soothe any fears future parents might have.

  3. A good book, but it was a little too granola for me.

  4. This was the first book I read when I began considering my childbirth options. Although I found the birth stories section a little bit granola and not exactly how I picture my birth experience, I love how all the stories are positive in nature.
    The rest of the book is incredibly informative and I credit it with helping me decide to have a medfree birth in a birthing center. I am very much looking forward to the experience and recommend this book to all prenant women.


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